Researchers harness IoT to better preserve Italy’s historical sites

Researchers harness IoT to better preserve Italy’s historical sites

Team at Politecnico di Milano uses Microsoft Azure IoT data analytics to protect Mitreo site in Rome

Toby Ingleton |

A team of researchers at Politecnico di Milano, an Italian scientific-technical university, are harnessing the power of the internet of things (IoT) to better preserve some of Italy’s ancient historical sites.

By using a combination of smart sensor technology and Microsoft Azure IoT data analytics, the team is able to remotely track environmental conditions at sites such as the Mitreo, which is located 45 feet beneath the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome, Italy. 

Humidity, temperature and other environmental factors have the potential to damage artifacts at the Mitreo and other ancient sites. But by using sensor and IoT technology, the team of researchers can help prevent damage to or the deterioration of a site.

To achieve this, smart sensors have been placed throughout the Mitreo. Microsoft Azure then acts as the end-to-end technology solution, and relays and processes the data these sensors collect in the cloud.

Any environmental problems can now be quickly identified. For example, if humidity levels are too high, the team can ensure the correct steps are taken to alleviate the problem before damage is caused.

“We tried several solutions and found that many cloud-based IoT platforms are overly complicated for what they do,” said Luca Mottola, associate professor and director of the Networked Embedded Software Lab at Politecnico di Milano, and one of the senior advisors to the project team. “Among the possible options, Azure was the best choice to get this done.”

The research team are now looking to implement similar systems at historical sites in Milan and Turin.

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